Moses Austin to Frederick Bates, xx-27-1808

Summary: Asking justice for Mathews and Hart. Confidence in the Government of the United States. Opposing appointment of John Smith T to the bench.

Mine a Burton 27th 1808.

Frederick Bates Esq.

D Sr

Colo. Mathews having determined to visit Saint Louis, affords an opportunity for me to tender my congratulations on the safe arrival of Gov. Lewis in this territory, believing as I do that his arrival will be to you no small gratification, in as much, as you will be releaved from much of the responsibility heretofore attached to your office. Colo Mathews deeply feels the outrages lately committed on his property and the insults offered his person, and depends much on you to see him remunerated for his losses. I have expressed to Messrs. Mathews and Hart my belief that they would find in you a firm advocate, and that Gov. Lewis would doubtless take prompt and efficient measure to attain them redress, I cannnot but express my hope that our Gov. will deliberately investigate the wrongs they have suffered from the agents of Smith and Brown, and cause restitution to be made them, suffer me also to add that no act of violence within my knowledge equals the one committed on those gentlemen, as well as on the authority of the U. States, such outrages unnoticed has created the most sovereign contempt for the constituted authorities, and imbolden the perpetrators of repine and discord to continue these outrages. I trust I shall be excused for expressing my solicitude on this occasion as Messrs. Mathews and Hart leased lands of the U States by my advice, and in consequence I consider myself in some measure instrumental in placing them in the situation in which they now stand, I have always expressd my confidence in the Justice of the General Government, also my firm belief that Gov. Lewis and yourself would shield them from the daring attempts of Smith and Brown, nor can I yet believe I shall find myself disappointed in my expectations of the just intentions of the Executive of this Territory, you are fully apprized of my determination (heretofore made known to you) not to interpose in any wise as to appointments that might be contemplated for this district, either civil or military, yet such is, my extreme concern on seeing the bold attempts to again introduce John Smith T. into office that I cannot remain silent, it appears to be a principle adopted by the General Government that all persons who have in any manner associated with Aaron Burr, ought to be divested of all authority, nor trusted with confidential offices under the Government, that John Smith T. did actually enter into the views of Burr, (in my opinion) may be established by concurring testimony sufficiently strong to convince every man in this district friendly disposed towards the U. States of the impropriety of his holding an office under the Government, the advocates of Smith have a double object in view, by reinstating him in office, they expect by so doing to fix a stigma on the Secretary of the Territory, and prove to the World that his removal from office arose from personal motives and not from any improper acts of his, they also expect to regain a complete ascendency over this District, and create a breach between the Gov. and Secretary which, is said and impressed on the minds of the people has already taken place, and that Gov. Lewis has expressed his dissatisfaction of the secretary's conduct—thus you see the engines of discord are in motion to influence the people against every man that has dared to act in contradiction to the will of the Ex Secretary and his friend Smith. I cannot but feel deeply impressed with the importance of the present question, whether John Smith T. shall be reinstated or not, a question of no small consequence in my estimation, my confidence in the correct views of Gov. Lewis are such that until I am convinced by seeing Smith clothed with the ensigns of his office, I will not believe him reinstated in the-confidence of the Governor, altho proclaimed by a thousand tongues.

Moses Austin.